Wall - noun - a high thick masonry structure forming a long rampart or an enclosure chiefly for defense;  an extreme or desperate position or a state of defeat, failure, or ruin

This past season I started working with a new team. We had some work to do to get their stick skills to improve, but as every coach is aware, there is only so much practice time to prepare for competition. Enter the Wall. About a week into the season a challenge was laid before my athletes.I laid out the following wallball program for the athletes:

  • 3 minutes Throw Right, Catch Right
  • 3 minutes Throw Left, Catch Left
  • 3 Minutes Throw Right, Catch Left
  • 3 Minutes Throw left, Catch Right
  • 90 seconds Behind the Back Left, Catch in front
  • 90 seconds Behind the Back Right, Catch in front

I asked them to spend 15 minutes, 3x per week on this. Whoever had the most reps would be declared the winner. Notice I said reps, not time. Enter SNYPR who has developed an app that uses the technology in your smartphone to track how many reps are being completed. Not only that, but it gives you a report of which athletes are participating, has leaderboard functionality for your team and even the country.

After getting some of the sleeves used to hold the phone in place on the players arm, we got started and something interesting happened. At first, our athletes were a little slow to start. Then they discovered the team leaderboard…It became an instant competition between them to see who could “out rep” someone else. They started chiding each other (in a good natured way) about falling behind. Within a month, our team challenge winner had over 7000 reps. That might not sound like a big amount, but keep in mind that this was in addition to the work we do in practice and there was a noticeable improvement to not only his, but many others stick skills as well.

As I read the definition, I found it interesting to see how a wall can be defined as both a defense and a failure. I guess it’s ultimately all about which side of the wall you are on. Perhaps a great defense is having kids who can catch and throw well, in addition to the strategies you implement.

T.J. Buchanan is the technical director for the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model and a longtime coach at the collegiate and high school levels.

US Lacrosse WallBall Challenge

Help improve your game and raise funds for the First Stick Program by participating in the US Lacrosse WallBall Challenge from June 1-30, 2017.

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